Downtown Buffalo's protest Saturday night, like those in so many other cities across the nation and the world, was sparked by last week's death of George Floyd, who was suffocated by a Minneapolis police officer. Rev. Mark Blue, President of the Buffalo branch of the NAACP, says the protests show the need for change in how police perform their duties.
According to Blue, the NAACP has established a list of needed police reforms.
"We would like a ban on the use of knee-holds and chokeholds as an acceptable practice for police officers."
Better de-escalation training also needs to be expanded for police, Blue says. Proponents argue such training would help officers calm tense confrontations involving the public.
"We also want the state to open up records of officers that have had misconducts and disciplinary history," Blue said. The proposal was also aired recently Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
"We want recertification of credentials...(to be)...denied for police officers if determined their use of deadly force was unwarranted by federal guidelines."
Blue attended Saturday's protest at Niagara Square. He characterized the protest "peaceful" and that authorities called for the gathering to "disperse peacefully." Much of the evening's troubles reportedly began after the gathering began leaving the square.
Blue was asked if "outside agitators" were the present Saturday night.
"There's no doubt in my mind," he emphatically answered.
"There were individuals who did not live in this city, this community, that came with the express intent on causing riotous acts."